Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.

  • U.S Pending home sales rose 8.2% in May.
  • U.S. mortgage applications decreased 2.7% in the week ending June 24, 2011.

  • Greek parliament votes in favor of fresh sweeping austerity measures.

  • MoM industrial production in Japan rose 5.7 % in May.

  • Chinas pork prices kept their bull run in the week ended June 26 with an increase of 4.5% WoW

  • (MarketWatch)The DOE reported a decline of 4.4 million barrels in crude inventories for the week ended June 24. Analysts polled by Platts had expected a decline around 1.7 million barrels. The EIA reported gasoline stocks down 1.4 million barrels, against expectations of an increase of 700,000 barrels. Supplies of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, increased 300,000 barrels, the EIA said. The analysts surveyed had seen an addition of 1.8 million barrels.

  • Imports of nickel ores and concentrate by China climbed to a record in May as nickel pig iron producers ramped up output to meet demand from stainless steel makers.

  • China exported 175,400 tonnes of stainless steel flat products, up by 21.7% MoM.

  • Chinese premier Wen Jiabao pledged China's support for the embattled euro, saying that China will buy Hungarian government bonds and "consistently" support the euro as Europe attempts to fight its way out of a sovereign debt crisis, reported London's Daily Telegraph.

  • The economic sentiment indicator for the EU 17 fell by 0.4 points to 105.1.

  • The New Jersey Senate voted 33-1 today to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking), in a move to protect the Delaware River from potential contamination from the risky unconventional gas drilling practice. The Delaware River supplies drinking water for 15 million people in four states. 

  • (Barrons 6/29/2011) China has 446 million hogs—more than the next 43 pork-producing countries combined—and consumes 50% of the world's pork supply each year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PIMCO Founder To Deficit-Obsessed Congress: Get Back To Reality In a prospectus for clients, Bill Gross, a co-founder of investment management giant PIMCO, says members' of Congress incessant focus on deficit -- and in particular, the manner in which they obsess about deficits -- is foolhardy, and a recipe for disaster. What the country needs, Gross said, is real stimulus now, and a measured return toward fiscal balance in the years ahead.

Quick Overview

  • Bank JPMorgan charged with misleading investors in mortgage-related security, settles SEC charges for $153m

  • U.S Existing Home Sales fell by 3.8% in May, at an annual pace of 4.81 million, down 15.3% from last year’s mark of 5.68 million by the same point in the year.
  • The National Average Commitment Rate to a 30 year fixed rate was 4.64%
  • The national median home price was $166,500, down over 4.6% YoY
  • Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 1% to 3.72 million existing homes for sale
  • Distressed homes accounted for 31% of all sales in the month of May, a 6% drop off from last month, and sold at an average of 20% below the median price.

  • Corn / Beans turnaround Tuesday is linked to hot and dry US Midwest forecast late next week & uncertainty over what USDA will say June 30 about US 2011 acres.

  • (FT) Greek citizens are emptying savings accounts and buying gold.

  • Swift Beef Co. agreed to pay a $1.3 million fine to settle allegations the company violated the federal Clean Water Act by dumping pollutants into rivers near its Grand Island, Neb., processing plant.

  • A continuing probe by the Associated Press finds tritium (a radioactive form of hydrogen) has leaked from nearly three-quarters of U.S. nuclear power facilities, including two in New Jersey.

Monday, June 20, 2011

No update today

Quick Overview

  • (Reuters) Fitch says if U.S. debt ceiling not raised by August 2 then will put U.S. on rating watch negative.

  • (MarketWatch) -- SABMiller PLC said Tuesday that its proposal to buy Foster's Group Ltd. at 4.90 Australian dollars a share ($5.19) is attractive to Foster's Group shareholders. SABMiller said the price represents a significant premium of 14.5% to the price of Foster's of A$4.28 as of 2 June.

  • (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Wal-Mart rose Monday following its court victory in a sex-discrimination case. Wal-Mart added about 1% after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a massive sex-discrimination class-action lawsuit against the retailer cannot move forward in its current form.

  • (FT)Three-quarters of the new inflow from China was invested abroad in non-US dollar assets, bank report reveals.

  • Tepco rating slashed to Junk by Moody’s

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. housing starts rose 3.5% in May. However, starts still remained 5.6% below levels seen in March and well below levels needed to turn the industry around.

  • Bank chiefs’ average pay in the US and Europe leapt 36 % last year to $9.7m, according to data compiled for the Financial Times, despite variable performance across the sector.

  • Moody’s place the government debt of Italy on alert for a possible downgrade.

  • Greece has been downgraded three notches to triple C by Standard & Poor’s, just two notches above default.

  • Greenspan (the ex chief default facilitator) said that a Greek default was likely.

  • A deal isn't yet in sight for the next Greek rescue package, but Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel sought to express unity during a Friday meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin. Both, however, now agree that bank participation should be voluntary.

  • The Senate killed the ethanol tax credit in a vote of 73 to 27. These same clowns voted less than one month ago to preserve billions of dollars in taxpayer handouts to the oil industry. This Senate action won’t result in a bill, since the House has to initiate tax legislation.
    (Current subsidies for the oil industry total up to $280 billion annually, representing up to $2 per gallon of gasoline)

  • There is some speculation that commercials have bought July corn futures to take delivery.

  • Forgers are buying empty Lafite and Latour bottles on eBay for several hundred Euros.

  • During the first four months of 2011, the export value of China's agricultural products hit 18.68 billion US dollars, an increase of 34.4% YoY.
  • Torrential rains have left huge areas of Hubei and Zhejiang provinces under water, with more than 1 million acres of farmland inundated, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

  • The U.S. has hit the $14.29 trillion $ legal ceiling on borrowings and the U.S. Treasury is taking extraordinary measures to buy some time prior to Aug. 2 for Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal and ward off the default risk.

  • The IMF warned that Washington and debt-ridden European countries are "playing with fire" unless they take drastic steps to reduce their budget deficits as it cut US growth forecasts.

  • BYD Co. Ltd., the Chinese car maker backed by Buffett, said it had received formal approval from China's top securities regulator for an A-share listing on the Shenzhen market.

  • California lost 29,200 jobs in May. Despite the job losses, the state's unemployment rate still dropped to 11.7%, from 11.8% the month before.

  • (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations nuclear agency’s decision to hold talks about the Fukushima disaster behind closed doors this week ignores the “blindingly obvious” need for greater transparency..

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Japan's government is considering evacuating more towns affected by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

  • The USDA cut U.S. new-crop corn ending stocks to 695 million bushels, down 205 million bushels from the previous month estimate = a 19-day supply.
  • The USDA estimates global corn stocks at a 42.8 day supply -- the lowest since 1973-74.

  • Marksmen could be paid to slaughter Australia's vast population of methane-belching camels that roam the Outback as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit was detected in tea made in a factory in Shizuoka City, more than 300 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Ancient wheat plague threatens world crops anew Whipping winds can transport spores as many as 100 miles (160 kilometers) per day, raising concerns among scientists about where the epidemic could turn up next.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Nuclear fuel has melted through base of Fukushima plant The findings of the report, which has been given to the International Atomic Energy Agency, were revealed by the Yomiuri newspaper, which described a "melt-through" as being "far worse than a core meltdown" and "the worst possibility in a nuclear accident."

  • NJ Gov. Chris Christie wants a new nuclear plant in the state to replace one that will shut down.

  • In the wake of Fukushima Germany's bets big on renewable energy and shuts  all its nuclear power plants by 2022.

Quick Overview

  • OPEC couldn't agree on an increase in production quotas.

  • (FT) BP statistical review of world energy shows China accounted for 20.3%t of consumption, surpassing the US on 19%.

  • (MW)The Federal Reserve's latest survey of economic conditions throughout the country found slower growth in many regions. Fed banks in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York and Chicago all reported a downshift in activity. Only the Dallas Fed reported accelerated growth.

  • (FT) Dry weather across northern Europe has raised concerns among commodity traders of a crop failure similar to last year's devastating losses in Russia.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Wet weather that delayed corn planting in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter, may send global inventories to their lowest in 37 years.

  • With few options at hand and his poll numbers sagging, President Barack Obama expressed concern yesterday about the sudden slowdown in the economy but said he was not worried about a second recession and America should "not panic". He’s contemplating a payroll tax break for employers.
10 physical gestures that have been patented
Apple is trying to claim ownership of everything from an infinity gesture on your phone, to some sort of weird thing where you stick three fingers on the screen and wiggle the middle one in a circle.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Next update June 8

UN proposes commodity deal tax to curb speculation
The United Nations has proposed a tax on commodity transactions, and government intervention in markets, to curb the speculation that the organisation believes is artificially lifting prices, and volatility, of raw materials.
Wheat Rallying 20% as Parched Fields Wilt From China to Kansas

Parts of China, the biggest grower, had the least rain in a century, some European regions are the driest in 50 years and almost half the winter-wheat crop in the U.S., the largest exporter, is rated poor or worse.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Quick Overview

  • US unemployment rose from 9% to 9.1%, analysts had expected a fall to 8.9%.

  • Chinese ratings agency Dagong Global Credit Rating put France's AA- credit rating on negative watch.

  • S&P/Case-Shiller US Home Price Index for Q1, showing that the U.S. home prices declined 4.2% in the period to a new low since mid-2002.

  • India Plans $12 Billion Highway Expansion.

  • Radiation readings inside the Fukushima No. 1 reactor building rose to the highest level yet, almost three months after the disaster started.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Climate change curbs crops Warming has already lowered yields of wheat and corn.
Farmers have produced less food during the past three decades than they would have done were climate change not happening..

Quick Overview

  • The DOE reported an increase of 2.9 million barrels of oil. Analysts expected a decrease around 1.9 million barrels.
  • The EIA reported an increase of 2.6 million barrels for gasoline inventories. Analysts had expected gasoline inventories to rise 1.2 million.
  • The DOE reported a decrease of 1 million for stockpiles of distillates.

  • U.S. Factory orders fell 1.2% in April to $440.4 billion after a upwardly revised 3.8% gain in March.

  • The number of US people who filed applications for unemployment compensation fell slightly last week to 422,000 from 428,000

  • As the E. coli outbreak continues to ravage Germany and other parts of Europe, the World Health Organization said Thursday that the aggressive intestinal bacterium is a new strain never seen before. Meanwhile fears of the illness prompted Russia to ban imports of vegetables from the EU.

  • The Canadian Wheat Board released information regarding a possible 4 to 5 million acres of wheat not being planted

  • China will encourage coal imports and urge miners to boost output to increase supplies to power plants.
  • China's growth is slowing but still looks set to outstrip expectations in 2011, with rapid urbanization, manufacturing and demand for housing stoking its economy, Rio Tinto said.
  • China announced that it will raise electricity prices for nonresidential consumers about 3% to offset lofty coal prices.
  • Xinhua said that rainfall along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze was down 40 to 60 percent from the average, with the totals being lower than at any time since 1951. 

  • Brazil's environment agency gave final approval this week for the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, an immense hydroelectric station in the Amazon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The ISM index of U.S. manufacturing activity fell to 53.5% last month from 60.4 in April.

  • Macau says gambling revenue surges 42% in May -- MPEL new high on the move

  • The Linn Group on Wednesday lowered its forecast of U.S. 2011 corn plantings to 87.233 million acres, from its May 18 estimate of 89.538 million. (NOT ENOUGH!!)

  • US Construction spending improved in April, rising 0.4%.

  • The unemployment rate in the euro zone remained high at 9.9 percent in April

  • India's January-March GDP rose 7.8% YoY

  • Moody's warns of possible downgrade to Japan's debt rating.

  • Mark Mobius: Total value of global derivatives exceeds total global GDP by a factor of 10

  • Japan’s unemployment rate at 4.7% in April.

  • Florida orange trees aged over 14 years has doubled to more than 60% so far this century.

  • Oil World estimates the German rapeseed crop down 19%.

  • The French government weather agency Meteo France said this spring has been both the warmest and the driest on record, with a higher average temperature and less rain than in 1976, which had the most severe drought since the agency began compiling the data.

  • China's manufacturing-activity fell to 52.0 vs. forecast of 52.2.

  • The Australian GDP fell  1.2% in the March quarter.

  • YoY South Koreas CPI rose 4.1% May